European Commission endorses Belgium’s €5.9 billion recovery and resilience plan

The European Commission has adopted a positive assessment of Belgium’s recovery and resilience plan. This is an important step towards the EU disbursing €5.9 billion in grants under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). This financing will support the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Belgium’s recovery and resilience plan. It will play a key role in enabling Belgium to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RRF – at the heart of NextGenerationEU – will provide up to €672.5 billion (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across the EU. The Belgian plan forms part of an unprecedented coordinated EU response to the COVID-19 crisis, to address common European challenges by embracing the green and digital transitions, to strengthen economic and social resilience and the cohesion of the Single Market.

The Commission assessed Belgium’s plan based on the criteria set out in the RRF Regulation. The Commission’s analysis considered, in particular, whether the investments and reforms set out in Belgium’s plan support the green and digital transitions; contribute to effectively addressing challenges identified in the European Semester; and strengthen its growth potential, job creation and economic and social resilience. Continue reading “European Commission endorses Belgium’s €5.9 billion recovery and resilience plan”

The Flanders Participation Company supports SMEs with flexible long-term loans thanks to the EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Flanders Participation Company (PMV) have signed a EUR 60 million loan agreement with a view to setting up a new platform, managed by PMV, for loans to Flemish SMEs. This will allow PMV to expand its range of flexible financial instruments with long-term loans for larger SMEs as an alternative to issuing bonds.

PMV is putting up EUR 40 million, which means that initially there will be EUR 100 million available. By collaborating with external financiers the aim is to increase this amount to EUR 200 million. The loans are designed to enable companies to diversify and improve the balance of their debt structure, making them better able to withstand future interest rate rises. The loans (EUR 5-15 million) will have terms of between five and ten years, with a fixed or variable interest rate of between 2% and 4% and repayment in full on the final due date, or with a repayment schedule following a grace period.

PMV intends using flexible long-term loans to provide SMEs with growth or investment plans with the opportunity to further diversify their funding and provide them with solutions supplementing traditional bank loans. “These are very cheap today, but will be less available in the very long term. By diversifying their funding sources, SMEs will become more resistant to future interest rate rises or other market fluctuations. They will also be able to free up working capital to fund further growth. Large companies have been diversifying their funding sources like this for a very long time through debenture loans, which is not so easy for SMEs to do. This partnership with the EIB makes it possible to offer an advantageous interest rate.” says Filip Lacquet, corporate finance group manager at PMV.

EIB Director General Jean-Christophe Laloux added: “The EIB is more than just a bank; it’s a European institution with a very clear purpose: to improve people’s lives through its investments.  SMEs are the driving force of the Flemish economy and are responsible for a very sizeable share of employment.  At a time of geopolitical, economic and climate uncertainty, it’s important for us to give these businesses some support.Continue reading “The Flanders Participation Company supports SMEs with flexible long-term loans thanks to the EIB”

With the EIB and ELENA, the RenoWatt project, energy for jobs, opens to all Wallonia

To achieve European and economic objectives, local authorities have a key role to play in improving energy efficiency (urban renewal, mobility, biomass energy, etc.). The RenoWatt project is focused in that direction and opens to all Wallonia with the support of the European Union’s ELENA Programme and the European Investment Bank.

The European Union’s Climate and Energy Objectives

By 2030, the European Union (EU) is committed to achieving:

  • a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990: -43% compared to 2005 (Emissions Trading System – ETS) and -35% compared to 2005 (non-ETS such as transport, construction, etc.);
  • a renewable energy share of at least 32% in the energy mix (binding target);
  • a 32.5% increase in energy efficiency (primary energy consumption compared to 2007).

In view of these upcoming EU requirements, it is vital to set up structures to promote the energy-efficient renovation of buildings. Public and private buildings alone account for more than 40% of final energy consumption: the thermal refurbishment of buildings will create jobs and help limit the use of petroleum products.

Economic impact

The potential impact of this project goes beyond the EU’s obligations; investment in energy renovation sectors means investment in activities that generate value and wealth in terms of Wallonia’s GDP. The energy savings and the mobilisation of the construction sector will lead to the acquisition of expertise, within the Region and in financial tools. The deployment of appropriate training initiatives aimed at local recruitment by companies that can enter into energy performance contracts (EPCs), the introduction of new techniques for financing the transition, the development of new energy services operators in the private sector and the professionalisation of the “Walloon energy transition” are all benefits that this project can bring. More specifically, the development of an “industrial/economic” sector would result in an investment potential of more than EUR 30 billion and the creation of more than 17 000 jobs over the next 30 years. Continue reading “With the EIB and ELENA, the RenoWatt project, energy for jobs, opens to all Wallonia”